Hello there. We’ve been making a few more wood products recently using trees from the estate. Perhaps with all this rain we should be building an ark rather than making fence posts…
The weather really has caused us a few problems. The rain in particular has meant that some of our scheduled work has had to be put on hold becuase we can’t gain access to certain areas of the estate. For example some of the fields around Pond Wood, where we must have vehicular access, are so waterlogged that we simply can’t go near them. So we have been rescheduling some work to wait for dryer weather. Although we always make a point of driving in the woods as little as possible, this winter we have made a particular effort to keep vehicles out. It isn’t always practical – for example when tidying up storm damaged or dangerous trees, we have needed our tractor mounted winch in the woods.
If you enter the woods via the underpass you can’t have failed to notice the flooding. This isn’t the first time it’s happened, especially with the heavy rains and silt washing in to the drains. The Trust doesn’t own or manage the tunnel, so we are simply encouraging walkers to use an alternative entrance. The problem has been reported to Bromley Council who will hopefully be sorting it soon.
The high winds have created much work for us at what is already our busiest time of year. Over the Christmas period we worked hard to remove fallen and dangerous trees. In comparison to ‘St Jude’s’ storm in October we had fewer trees felled by the wind but many more damaged crowns and dangerous hanging branches. This is unfortunate as we will always tidy trees on the ground, but must bring in tree surgeons if the work involves climbing. Luckily we have some great contractors who pulled the stops out to help us over Christmas and New Year.
Our regular work with our volunteers over the last month or so has been in our oak thinning area in the Willett Wood, as Richard mentioned in the previous post. This is our fourth winter of removing very dense holly and thinning out weaker oak and birch trees. We’ll be taking a break from it for a year before doing more of the same further to the south.
We’ve also been planting trees over in Pond Wood. You may recall that we have cleared all sycamore trees from this ancient wood. As a general rule we rely on natural regeneration to re-stock the woods, but there are a few areas where sycamore was just so prevalent (and now quite bare) that we decided to plant saplings of hazel, field maple and hawthorn.
These trees will grow on to form an understory beneath the mature oaks, ash and sweet chestnut.
In the next couple of weeks you may notice tree surgeons working in the woods. This is planned safety work rather than storm tidy up and will mostly involve taking out dead or dying branches over paths. We may have to put in temporary path closures or diversions but rest assured these will only be temporary.
Now, back to eyeing the weather forecast. Bye.